Busiest Weekend of the Year

Nov 24, 2022 | Peter Rossi

James Odyniec, defenseman for 2007-born youth hockey team Bishop Kearney Selects, prepares for a faceoff.
Photo from Instagram | @_jamesodyniec

American Thanksgiving is circled on the calendar for both U.S., Canadian teams

It is regularly the single busiest weekend of youth hockey on the calendar each year. American Thanksgiving tends to treat hundreds of teams in North America to plenty of holiday hockey. From spending time with family to trying to snag the best Black Friday deals, games and tournaments schedules are strategically placed throughout the extended weekend. 

A multitude of cities throughout the United States celebrate Thanksgiving with dozens of tournaments. Here are some of the most notable coming up this weekend. 

International Silver Stick

It may take place in Canada, but several American teams have come to compete in the International Silver Sticks tournament. Beginning Nov. 24, teams from the 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 birth years will take part in this year’s tournament in Whitby, Ontario, CAN. Each age group will be split into groups of five teams to settle on seeding before the playoff rounds. 

For our purposes, we will focus on the 2007, 2009 and 2011 programs. 

Of the six groups in the ‘07 age group, four stand out for having multiple teams in the World Rankings

Group 1 will feature No. 13 Bishop Kearney Selects and No. 8-ranked among Canadian teams Halton Hurricanes. Group 2 will see two ranked clubs from Canada, No. 6 Toronto Jr. Canadiens and No. 7 Southern Tier Admirals and battle for supremacy. Group 3 standouts include No. 22 Mississauga Senators, No. 9-ranked Canadian London Jr. Knights, and No. 9 ranked in the U.S. Pittsburgh Penguins Elite. Rounding things out in Group 5 is No. 17 Don Mills Flyers and No. 5 in Canada York Simcoe Express.

Group 3 for the ‘09 table will have its fair share of close games, with the No. 7 U.S. ranked Mid-Fairfield Jr. Rangers set to face off against the likes of No. 11 Sun County Panthers and No. 16 Toronto Titans

For the 2011 age group, Group 4 will include matchups such as No. 9 Elgin-Middlesex Canucks and No. 22 Middlesex Islanders. Rounding things out is Group 5 are two of the top U.S. teams in No. 6 Penguins Elite and No. 17 Chicago Reapers

CCM Shootout

The 16U division of the CCM Shootout, presented by 200×85, will take place from Nov. 25-27 at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, USA. 

Eight teams will square off in a round-robin style format, earning two points for a win and one point for a tie. All teams will be in action during the first day, with Victory Honda and the South Hills Panthers kicking things off Friday morning. 

Other teams taking part are the Chicago Bulldogs, Gilmour Academy, Markham Islanders, PAL Jr. Islanders, Anaheim Ice Dogs and Biggby Coffee.

Some of these programs have already seen action against one another during the regular season, so that familiarity should lead to exciting and emotional tilts. 

Smashville Girls Showcase

The top Tier-I and Tier-II girls teams in North America will head to the Music City for the Smashville Girls Showcase this weekend. 

14U, 16U and 19U teams will each be divided into two groups per birth year. The hometown Nashville Jr. Predators will be in attendance for all birth years. The 14U team enters with a 6-7-0 record, the 16U team with a 7-4-2 record and the 19U team with a record of 4-6-2. 

As an added addition, the Smashville Women’s Hockey Collegiate Showcase will be running concurrently, bringing even more opportunities to watch and learn from some of the best female players in the world. 

The Collegiate Showcase will feature Northeastern University, Princeton University and Cornell University

The Nation’s Cup

Another 200×85 sponsored event, the 2022 CCM Nation’s Cup has the distinction of having the most unique format out of all the tournaments listed here. Not only that, but big bragging rights will be on the line to determine who will be crowned winner between the USA and Canada. 

126 teams from the 2008 through 2013 birth years will take part in a four-game round robin format, accumulating points for their respective country. This part of the proceedings also plays a crucial role in seeding for the next round. 

Once the new standings have been calculated, action will kick back up for a fifth and final game. The top Canadian team will square off against the top American team. Canadian second seed plays American second seed, and so on. Every time a team wins a game, they accrue points for either the U.S. or Canada. The country with the most points at the end of the tournament will be awarded the Nation’s Cup. 

Wishbone Classic

Rounding out festivities this weekend is a World Hockey Events exclusive. The Wishbone Classic will take place in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA with teams from the 2009 through 2013 birth years. 

This is one of the premier Tier-2 tournaments in New England on the calendar this season. As a result, some programs are bringing multiple teams to the event. 

The Seacoast Spartans (2009-2013), Valley Jr. Warriors (2010, 2011, 2013) and Dynamo HC (2012-2013) will all be participating in multiple birth years. 

Of course, these are just a few of the many events going on around this time. Be sure to check out a complete list of Thanksgiving weekend tournaments HERE

Want more coverage of the top tournaments and showcases in youth hockey? Follow WHH on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube!

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